When first arriving into Rarotonga, Cook Islands’ lagoon-side airport, you’ll be greeted by a warm breeze, and a colorful sign which reads, “Kia Orana! Welcome to the Cook Islands!” Soon, you’ll hear the faint sounds of a ukulele and the soft singing voice of famous local, Papa Jake, serenading you as you’re greeted by customs with a smile, and another, “Kia Orana!” as your passport is stamped, and you make your way from customs, to baggage, to hotel in no more than 30 minutes after landing.
There is, after all, only one main road around the lush volcanic island of Rarotonga – the central island of the Cook Islands with a population of no more than 15,000 – and this road stretches just 21 miles around in circumference, with no stop lights, and no buildings higher than the tallest coconut tree to obstruct your views en route.
It’s so easy to see why this South Pacific island nation is dubbed, “a little paradise,” but even easier to understand what makes the Cook Islands the perfect winter getaway. Here are our top three reasons.
Reason#1: It’s an easy, non-stop flight on Air New Zealand from North America.
That’s right – we said non-stop. The Cook Islands can be reached every Saturday night via Los Angeles International Airport on an overnight, 9.5 hour flight on Air New Zealand. And you won’t cross the date line and lose time doing so – the Cook Islands are in the same time zone as Hawai’i, so you can expect to arrive refreshed and ready to begin your tropical getaway upon landing.
Air New Zealand also offers a variety of cabin choices that are simply unmatched for leisure travel to the South Pacific; lie-flat leather Business Premier seats, which transform into memory foam beds, the exclusive Premium Economy cabin with leather reclining seats, and an Economy Class which includes its unique Skycouch option for families, couples, or solo travelers wanting more space during travel.
Flying with Air New Zealand also gives you the opportunity to seamlessly include a larger South Pacific network into your itinerary like no other airline can offer. From the Cook Islands, you can so easily visit New Zealand, Australia, or both, and return on a nonstop flight home to a variety of gateways the airline services! One ticket, one airline, more destinations to explore.
*Special note: as of October 31, 2020, travel from LAX to the Cook Islands will be moved from Saturday to Sunday service. At this time, Air New Zealand will also launch nonstop, round-trip flights from New York City to Auckland.